Group dancing! Blair agrees to go to Debutante Ball with Nate as friends, rekindling his feelings. Nate's suspicions that she's seeing somebody force Chuck to pull Carter Baizen (the Not-So-Sexy Hobbit) into their love triangle, but it backfires when Blair is impressed with Nate's caveman behavior, and they end up getting back together right in front of Chuck's eyes. Thus burned by both his girlfriends, Chuck leaves town for parts unknown. Come back, Chuck! XOXO!
The Ball conflicts with Alison's art opening, but both Humphrey kids eventually end up going anyway. Jenny's horrific whining and inability to finesse the situation breaks her mom's heart, and makes her look like a total jerk. Meanwhile, the whole Dan/Serena situation is all very complicated with a lot of moving parts, and everything is louder than everything else: Serena doesn't even want to go to the Ball, which mother Lily supports, but then grandmother Cece shows up and starts throwing around the fake cancer of manipulation. When Cece delivers a truly awesome, bitchy speech to Dan about his innate inability to fit into the UES, and tries to buy him off, Dan tries to get Serena to see how hardcore her grandmother really is. This goes poorly; Serena is escorted by Carter the Hobbit. Once Rufus learns this exact same shit is the reason Lily left him long ago, he gives Dan a Humphrey Men speech that's actually worthwhile, and they unite to resist Cece. Lily then gives Dan an awesome speech of her own about how cool he and Serena have turned out to be, separately and together, and everybody melts; even cold Grandma Cece. Who, it turns out, has secret cancer after all. Lily watches Dan and Serena's romance bloom, and Rufus calls her about the long-ago bribing, and they both get misty.
Final score: Blair's back with Nate, Chuck has vanished, Serena and Dan have Lily's blessing, Alison is the first person to notice that Jenny is becoming a psycho killer, and Lily and Rufus realize that their ill-starred love might have a few stars left in it after all. On the 19th, Dan and Serena finally do it, and Harold Waldorf bears tidings of gay joy, and a cute little present named Roman.
How great were the ads this week, with that song from the end of the episode and people staring at other people kissing, while dressed all fancy? So free of content or meaning, yet so evocative! It felt like being French! If there's one thing we all need, it's more kissing while dressed all fancy, with other fancy people watching us kiss. Who doesn't live for those fancy, slutty nights? Good thing the episode didn't disappoint. On into the dumb old fake credits and there's a new entry on GossipGirl, proclaiming B and N are OVER. Which makes me think Blair and Nate will end up in bed together by the end of the episode, probably with fancy old Chuck watching.
There's a strange kind of swooshy thing that the camera does, like an Impressionist painting or a buffering problem, as we check out a bunch of kids practicing ballroom dancing. Like, they're dancing like normal people, and then with no warning, they go all smooshy. It's cool, I'm not describing it very well. And anyway, finally! Group dancing! "Hey, Upper East Siders, it's that time of year again, when the mere act of descending a staircase means you're a woman. That's right, debutante season." Oh, excellent. I love debutante season. It's just like dressing up fancy and doing the same things you do every night anyway, but with a creepy kiddie-pageant chattel/auction vibe. "Young ladies for sale by their fathers! Satisfaction guaranteed!"
The basic pairs are all walking through different parts of the world: Blair and Serena, Chuck and Nate, Dan and Jenny. B is "actually glad" she's going to the ball with Prince Theodore (!) instead of Nate, because as time goes by since the breakup, she has been filling in the blanks about how "self-involved," "brooding," and "tortured" he was. "A girl wants Romeo, not Hamlet," Blair says, finally proving what I've always suspected about the Constance Billard School for Girls. Can these people even read? Do they even need to? Instead of pointing out that Romeo was the very model of brooding self-involvement, to the point where the first half of the play is just various characters getting together to talk about what a whining pansy he's turning out to be, Serena fast-forwards to the end of the play, where Romeo died. "Yeah, but he died for something exciting!" Do what? "And I want my debutante ball to be something to die for!" They laugh, but I'm honestly concerned at this point. Chuck makes him into Othello, and everybody else is pretending to be exactly what they are, like in the pastorals, but there's no Romeo or Hamlet here. Maybe it's misdirection, but mostly it just seems queasy: the whole episode is a Shakespeare mash-up, but here you go trying to have it both ways.